The brains behind one of America’s biggest accounting frauds is receiving an early release from his 25-year prison sentence.
Bernie Ebbers, the former CEO of WorldCom, is being released because family members say he is suffering from dementia and is legally blind. Federal prosecutors in a recent court filing said the 78-year-old former telecom executive was faking illness to gain the release.
Ebbers has served 13 years of his sentence.
Worldcom was a veritable household name in 2001 as one of the world's largest telecommunication companies. A popular portfolio stock, Worldcom made moves to falsely inflate its earnings on its profit and loss statement by nearly $4 billion.
Under Ebbers, the company spread out expenses in smaller amounts over several years instead of reporting them immediately to investors. As a result, in 2001, the company reported a mind-boggling $1.4 billion profit. Had the operating costs been correctly reported, Worldcom would have lost money for fiscal 2001 as well as first-quarter 2002.
Ebbers has been serving his time in a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.
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